Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gameday: Smoke Eaters @ Silverbacks

Who: Trail Smoke Eaters @ Salmon Arm Silverbacks
When: Jan. 21, 7:00 PM
Where: Sunwave Centre, Salmon Arm

For the first time this year, the Smokies visit the Silverbacks without a 7-hour bus ride as part of their gameday package. A heartbreaking 5-3 loss in Vernon last night, to me serves notice that this Smoke Eaters team is game for the spoiler role the rest of the way this season, if the five-game homestand earlier this month wasn't already enough of an indication.

Tonight, Trail gets another crack at a pesky Silverbacks team that has undergone many changes (due in part to their position in the Interior Conference standings), and will surely be out for revenge after suffering a 3-1 loss at Cominco Arena on Wednesday.

I'd imagine Lyndon Stanwood will feature back between the pipes tonight for the Smokies, after James D'Andrea made 35 saves in last night's loss at Wesbild Centre. As mentioned last night, the Calgarian did well to keep his side in a game in which they were badly outshot, though I'll argue the 40-17 shot advantage Vernon enjoyed was far from a true indicator on how the game actually went.

Last Meeting: Trail stormed out of the gate with 3 goals in the first 6:08 to brush back the 'Backs 3-1 at Cominco Wednesday night. The Silverbacks lead the season series 5-1 with the Smokies having collected 3 points in the six games.

Our Opponent: Like Trail, the Silverbacks are well on the outside, looking into the Interior Conference playoff picture, and despite a sub-par performance Wednesday do possess some pop. Devin Muller has 15 points in the season series while mobile defenseman Sean Flanagan seemingly creates opportunities offensively on every shift. Expect Kurt Williams to get the go in goal after Adam Clark played the last two in Trail.

In the Press Box: Trail are without D Shane Poulsen and F Adam Fares, with Castlegar Rebels Riley Henderson and Stuart Walton in their place. Salmon Arm's injury list includes forwards Brad Robinson, Graham McBain, Myles McCauley and d-men Braden Pears and Bennett Hambrook.

Broadcast Info: Mother Nature has scuttled my plans to drive up to Salmon Arm for the game today, therefore Silverbacks play-caller Scott Campbell has tonight's exclusive call (pay-per-view and free audio available here) beginning at 7 pm.

Local Hockey Tonight: All four local KIJHL teams are in action, but only one is at home. Castlegar hosts Grand Forks in the back end of a home-and-home set (7:30, Complex). The Rebels have outscored the Border Bruins 26-2 in their last two meetings. Beaver Valley will get Dallas Calvin back from injury tonight in Kelowna, while the Nelson Leafs visit the Columbia Valley Rockies. The major midget Kootenay Ice are on the road as well taking on the Cariboo Cougars in Prince George.

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